2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Dear Friends and Readers,

We have been talking about food for the past few weeks but the Holiday Season is almost upon us and it’s time to plan your Holiday Shopping. Given the success of last year’s Holiday Gift Guide, I decided to help Santa once more and pick some of the items I love.  This year’s gift guide is a little different because it is divided in categories, not only in gifts for him or her.  Hopefully this will make navigating the department stores list in hand a little easier. Fear not, there is a gift for everyone on your list!

Beauty Gifts

Clarisonic Aria: you know I love Clarisonic brushes. I have said that so many times: Clarisonic is the BEST beauty product for any skin type because it gives you the ultimate cleaning experience. Aria is the latest addition to the family and was launched during Fashion Week. Now Clarisonic has partnered with Lancome (another long time favorite of mine) for this great seasonal duo. Women (and men with sensitive skin) will love it!

Real Techniques brushes: I am a big fan of the UK makeup sensation PixiWoo (although I confess I do have a crush on blue eyed soft spoken Wayne Goss). I recently discovered that Samantha Chapman, ½ of the Pixiwoo beauty duo launched Real Techniques a line of cruelty free brushes.  Now, over the years, I have purchased tens of brushes from MAC, Sephora, Makeup Forever etc . so I feel like I can give my absolute unbiased and quite opinionated review. The Real Techniques brushes are THE BEST MAKEUP BRUSHES on the market right now. Honestly I haven’t been excited about makeup brushes for the longest time. Aside from being cruelty free and made of hand cut taklon that can be used for cream and powder product, each brush comes with an online tutorial on how to use and care for them. And you really can’t beat the price because it is fraction of what you would pay for MAC and MF!

By Kilian:  While I was a newbie to this brand I have to admit I lucked out: I actually met the creator of this perfume brand Kilian Hennessy at an event in New York where he was presenting his latest “white” collection “In the garden of good and evil” and he helped me pick a perfume for myself, Forbidden Games .  If you are not as lucky and Kilian is not visiting New York you may want to check out the By Kilian counter at Bergdorf Goodman where lovely Eva is knowledgeable, patient and will stir you in the right direction whether you are shopping for a woman or a man in your life.  The results are heavenly so don’t blame me if you smell amazing!

Kiehls’ Cross Terrain Collection: this is for the sporty men in your life.  I discovered the Cross Terrain Line because of high heels and I was hooked to the Dry Foot cream. Use it with shoes that usually give you blisters and thank me later.  Then I tried the Refueling Wash which is a godsend if you have a swimmer in your family. Finally, who doesn’t need SPF 50? The Pirate, my husband, needs some or he gets vicious sunburn!

Technology Gifts

Buying tech gifts is one of the most difficult tasks. Technology advances so fast that you don’t want to buy something only to discover it is obsolete before the holidays are over.Tech lovers usually do a lot of research to buy the best product. Fortunately I have a tech loving husband how does a LOT of research before buying even and HDMI cable (surprisingly some of his knowledge has been transferred to me)

Roku: after smart phones, smart TVs and smart-pretty much everything else, I thought things couldn’t get smarter.  Well I was wrong… Roku is this little unassuming box that connects your entertainment system to the best movie experience you can possibly have in the comfort of your living room.  Many TVs and Blue Ray Players connect with Netflix, Vudu and CinemaNow, Roku kicks it up a notch: this streaming player gives you access to 600 channels.  If you want to take this great concept to the next step and have a little more disposable income to invest in your movie theater at home experience, may I suggest….

3M Streaming Projector: If you have a white wall in your apartment then you can have even more fun: this projector gives you the ultimate big screen experience (120” is not joke). The projector is also powered by Roku, so you can feel like you get the ultimate movie theatre experience even in a small urban apartment.

Polaroid Digital Print Instant Camera: the creation of digital photography has killed many companies replying on print.  So Polaroid adapted and came up with cameras that allow you to take, save and share your digital photos like any other digital camera but also to print them on the spot as a keep sake. Next time you are out and about you can take a picture of someone you like and use the printed version as the perfect calling card! I think this is BRILLIANT!

Travel Gifts

People who travel for a living, usually have their own “system” in place that allows for very limited changes.  So you might find yourselves in a bit of a pickle is your loved ones are road warriors. Fear not! Here is a list of things I know they will love.

Bose Quiet Comfort 3: these noise cancelling headphones guarantee that you will sleep like a baby on pretty much every flight.  If your plan is to watch some of the airline entertainment you will get the best sound quality too.  As opposed to the previous model, Quiet Comfort 3 is slimmer and lighter so you won’t feel like all the equipment you carry on the plane weights you down.

Unit Portables: Unit 5 is a great overnight bag.  There is plenty of room for clothes and toiletries. Most importantly there are pouches that allow you to organize everything so you won’t have to dig through your stuff to retrieve the power cord or the passport. Along with the moderate price (wanna bet Tumi is 3 times as much) this overnighter is lightweight and comes in conservative yet fun colors.

Votary Scarves: I first met Luigi Bianco while studying for the Bar Exam at NYU’s Bobst library. The process of studying for the bar exam is stressful, long and often frustrating so it was a pleasure to see that Luigi’s sense of style did not suffer.  He went on to have a career as an attorney in the US and UK, then one day sent me an email about his new fashion brand, Votary. I thought that no one could be more perfect than him to have a fashion brand. Then I shamelessly fell in love with his scarves.  This holiday season there will be at least 2 people receiving a Votary scarf as a present. I have been wearing mine since I received it an it feels like a warm embrace, plus people actually stop me in the subway to ask me where I got it! This scarf is perfect for traveling because it is extremely low maintenance and it is long and large enough to serve as a blanket while flying all those “dark and frantic transatlantic miles”.

Luxe City Guide: I love these guides because they are portable, have great information and are written in a witty, engaging and fun way.  I was given a couple of these guides as a quirky present from secret Santa last year. This secret Santa had an idea of some of the places I would visit for work in 2012. Well these guides were amazing! I found the best spots for dining and shopping so that the business trips were not too dull!